Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
It has always been a matter of happiness for me to watch in younger generation the eagerness for development of Mother Orissa, though some misguided ones amongst the youngsters are yet unable to accept that the present government run by Navin Patnaik is the most disgusting obstacle to development of the State post-independence.
In Navins misrule natives of Orissa are most disadvantaged whereas non-Oriyas have most benefited. Younger generation Oriyas, in rising numbers, are getting marked for their eagerness to change the scenario.
But in eagerness sometimes one becomes too rash to retain power of reasoning and squanders away valuable energy in non-issues. Therefore, addressing to peripheral issues should be discarded and fixation of priority on the clamant issue should be encouraged.
The clamant issue concerning Orissa is restoration of faith in the massive majority of our people in the Motherland.
Let us cast aside braggadocios and admit the reality that Navins misrule has dragged us to.
The reality is Oriya cultivators are distress-selling their paddies, Oriya girls are distress-selling their bodies, Oriya females are distress-selling their babies, Oriya males as bonded workers in far away provinces are distress-selling their capabilities, Oriya students are distress-leaving their studies, Oriya intellectuals are distress-selling their qualities even as in rural households, overwhelmed by lack of income avenues, people are thriving on mortgaging or distress-selling their ancestral properties.
How much percent of which segment are such degraded is not relevant; relevant is the fact that these are parts of the menace that has engulfed more then 99% of Oriya families as a whole.
Use of debit as well as credit cards in purchasing consumer items, notwithstanding presence of banks in every remote corner of the state, according to a survey covering last financial year in respect to Orissa is only 0.13%. Out of the credit card users, 95% are defaulters and the real income of credit card companies come from penal interest paid by the defaulters. I had interviewed a bunch of Credit Card recovery supervisors of various Banks stationed at Bhubaneswar in August last year. The above calculation is based on their versions as per recovery records with them.
Bank Cards, specifically the Credit Cards are suggestive of their users belonging to higher income groups. If the size of this group is so abysmally small and the volume of defaults so alarmingly high, there should be no exaggeration in saying that less then 0.13 % of our people are at best capable of addressing to their consumer needs, even though their credit cards often collapse due to default in repayment.
This had led me to take a survey of consumer patterns in stationary-cum-ration shops of Bhubaneswar. I had limited my survey to shops under Unit-1, Unit-6 and Unit-4 areas. I was astonished to see that all of the shops had long lists of monthly consumers. The term monthly consumer means, a person takes goods on credit through out the month and pays the accumulated price at the end of the month, mostly after getting his /her salary.
The people who make ready cash payments are hardly one in a thousand and they are mostly non-Oriyas.
I checked up with Sub-Registrar of Bhubaneswar and found, that 97% of the people who have purchased independent or apartment houses within last two years are non-Oriyas and the people who have sold away their lands and / or buildings are all Oriyas by birth.
This being the condition of Oriyas in Bhubaneswar, condition of our people in remote areas can be well guessed.
A search in these pages will reveal how the welfare funds have been looted during this regime. Administration has become ugly in every respect.
And, in such conditions, faith in the Motherland is naturally declining. It is therefore urgent to resurrect the faith of the people in the Motherland by making the Motherland relevant.
If we are to do this, we are to compel the government to see which action can resurrect the relevance of the State.
In that direction, three steps would be necessary. One, stoppage of land and mining allocation to non-Oriyas; two, provision or redistribution of land to every landless and marginally landed Oriya family with a ceiling at 5 acres and three, provision of irrigation to every inch of land. Within a decade our people shall have enough funds at their disposal to spread into any industrial activity on the strength of our own State.
Unless this is done, the days of future would be more turbulent and more violent.
Frustration of the commons cannot be capped. Mayhem would be a must.
And in the penultimate phase, electoral politics shall not stand with the capitalists, because howsoever unscrupulous be a politician, his or her survival in power shall depend on the majority and the majority shall always be the neglected / ill-treated commons.
Industry cannot save Orissa; only agriculture can. Priority cannot be put on two things at a time. Hence, let us forget everything except agriculture at the moment and let us employ all our force against all other activities than agriculture. Instead of draining out rivers to industries, let our priority be fixed on irrigation to every inch of land.
This must be the minimum target. After this is done, we can pay attention to development in other fronts.
Let the fellows who enjoy being sycophants of Navin and who believe that such sycophancy helps them having their sway on the Chief Minister by using which they can do some good to Orissa (a tact that they call positive approach to administration) pay their specific attention to this and test if they can succeed in prevailing upon him to correct the wrongs he has so far done to Orissa.